According to a report by Boston Consulting Group (BCG), a global management consulting firm, Nigeria and 44 other countries worldwide are severely exposed to food crisis induced by the Russia-Ukraine war.
The consulting firm said in the report, titled “The War in Ukraine and the Rush to Feed the World,” that it “examined in detail the multiple direct and indirect impacts of the turmoil in Ukraine on global food systems.”
The BCG report, co-authored with Food Systems for the Future, also offered 30 short- and medium-term solutions to help respond to the crisis and strengthen global food systems’ resilience.
It stated that the affected countries, which were primarily concentrated in Africa, South Asia, and Latin America, were global hotspots as they experienced some of the worst effects of the crisis.
According to the BCG report, Nigeria and the other affected countries faced extreme poverty, which was exacerbated by the ongoing economic and social challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.
The report identified additional factors worsening the food crisis, including a heavy reliance on food imports, high import bills, high inflation, a high debt burden, climate risks, and civil unrest.
According to the UN Task Team for the Global Crisis Response Group, an estimated 1.7 billion people, the majority of whom live in developing countries, could face severe food insecurity, higher energy prices, or increased debt burdens.
According to the report, each of these individual factors had a negative impact on people’s ability to feed themselves.
“At the same time, there is an urgent need to address them more holistically and across all sectors in order to reshape our food systems and counteract this humanitarian crisis—and future ones,” it stated.
While commenting on the findings, Stefano Niavas, Managing Director and Partner at BCG Nigeria, stated, “The impact of the Ukraine war on our food systems calls for a critical and immediate review of our budgetary allocation.”
“Currently, Nigeria spends more than 27 times its agricultural allocation on debt service.” With the Ukraine conflict and the lingering challenges of COVID-19, the continent’s average debt-to-GDP ratio is expected to rise from 60% to 70%.
“To mitigate the crisis’s impact on Nigeria’s food systems, the government and all critical stakeholders should ensure the provision of viable seedlings, support the growth of alternative nutritious grains, and drive the adoption of innovative farm practices.” The use of alternative fertilizer sources will help reduce the country’s reliance on food imports.”